business growth

8 Factors That Hold Businesses Back

In Fashion Business by Melanie Shaw

It’s not easy to succeed in the business world. Competition is fierce, and even ventures that have virtually unlimited funding can end up failing. Sometimes, things are just beyond your control. However, if your business is going to join the 50% of businesses that close within five years, then you should, at the very least, ensure that it’s not because of anything you did. You’ll be increasing your chances of success if you’re not actively holding your business back, which is something that many entrepreneurs inadvertently end up doing.

In this post, we’ll take a close look at some of the things that hold businesses back, as well as some handy tips for overcoming them.

Only Focusing on Day-to-Day Operations

Anyone that runs a business knows that it can often feel like there’s a mountain of tasks to complete each day. Yet, while you’ll very much want to ensure that you’re ticking all of those boxes, it’s also important to take a longer-term view of your business, too. Putting together a robust plan for where you want to take your business will help you to stay on the right track towards success. You don’t need to spend too much time looking to the future, but creating the occasional achievable goal will ultimately improve your operations and overall success.

Wearing too Many Hats 

It’s likely that you don’t have all that much money to play with. Most businesses run on a pretty tight budget, after all. However, it’s not advisable that you, as the owner, take on all too much responsibility. There are some tasks that are better left to others. That’s not because you should lighten your load and take it easy, but because you’ll need to dedicate your time to the tasks that help to push your business forward. Is now the time to bring a couple of employees on board, or outsource some time-consuming tasks to a third-party company? You might just find that it helps to push your business forward in ways you can’t yet imagine. 

Inefficient Processes

It’s also recommended to take a look at your working operations and see if they’re as fluid and productive as they could be. We tend to naturally fall into a particular way of working, but those natural ways aren’t necessarily the best. They’re just whatever is the easiest. Your business will be much more likely to achieve success if you’re working productively. After all, improved output typically means improved results. So take a critical look at how you’re working, and see where you can make improvements. In the process, you might just turbocharge your output. 

Lack of Customer Insight

There’s a lot of unknown variables at play when you’re running a business. But in fact, there’s usually a lot more than you can know, if you take the time to learn it. Take your customers, for example. It’s much easier to build a successful business if you know who you’re trying to sell your goods and products to. As much as you might like to target all people everywhere, the fact is that’s just not possible. You’ll be targeting a small section of customers. So, who are they? When you’re conducting your customer research, endeavor to know as much about them as possible. That way, you can target your marketing and products as specifically as possible.

Hard to Find

There are some things that’ll more or less guarantee that a business is doomed to failure. For example, if no one knows that your business exists, then you can’t expect to win all that many customers. After all, they can’t buy from you if they don’t know you’re there. Marketing has always been important, but never as much as it is today. Given the importance, and also the complexity of modern marketing, it’s recommended to work with an SEO company; they’ll have the tools and know-how you need to move up the search engine rankings. There are other ways to market your business, too, but in an age when everyone is online all of the time, it’s your SEO credentials that’ll count for the most.

Losing Employees

It’s difficult finding and hiring great employees that can take your business forward. Once you’ve got them, you’ll need to ensure that they stay with you. Losing employees doesn’t only stop growth and limit productivity, but it’s also expensive. If your employee retention rate is lower than you’d like it to be, then look at making some changes. It may be worthwhile paying your employees more, investing in their training and development, and improving the working culture at your business. 


Businesses experience a lot of forward momentum when they first get started. But over time, things begin to slow down, and then in some cases, the momentum comes to a standstill. While you can’t expect the rate of growth and change to stay consistent all the time, it is important to have a forward-thinking attitude. Your business success depends on your continued development and innovation. So try to avoid becoming too comfortable. 

Small Business Mentality

Finally, it’s worth keeping in mind how your mindset may contribute to your overall success or failure. Sometimes, entrepreneurs hold their businesses back all because they have a small business mentality. That’s fine if you’re happy to stay in that lane, but if you want to see how high you can fly as a business, then at some points you’ll need to take the shackles off. The most successful businesses take risks at the right time, and even when they’re small, act like they’re big companies. Sometimes, we make our own reality — run your business as if it’s the biggest and best, and there’s a reasonable chance that you’ll get there.


As we said at the beginning of the article: if your business is going to fail, don’t let it be because of something that you did or did not do. Let the market make the decision. Take the tips above, and you’ll have given it all you can. 


About Melanie Shaw

Melanie Shaw is a fashion and lifestyle writer who has worked in the fashion industry in PR and communications, helping brands launch their latest products and collections.

View All Articles